I’ve already interviewed More Machine Than Man about four years ago and since then they released one album and a MCD packed with remixes. The latter will see its European release really soon (with different remixes than those included in the American edition), so I thought it was time to learn what was new directly from the band.
Chain D.L.K.: The last time we did an interview you had released two self produced albums and since then you found a European label and a deal with Caroline. Can you tell us about these things?
More Machine Than Man: Sure. It’s been an incredible trip. Black Flames approached us near the end of 2002. I’m pretty sure that they found us from all of the Side-Line, Outburn and zine coverage we received as an independent artist. BFR has been AMAZING. We did some compilation stuff with Underground Inc. and that grew into a distribution deal.
Chain D.L.K.: I saw that there’s a certain gap between the dates of European releases and American one. Is this because of the labels or are there any other reasons as well?
More Machine Than Man: Our plan is to have slightly different versions of EPs and singles in Europe and in the USA. Just to keep them particularly interesting. It also helps to give each distributor a unique selling angle, when the release dates are not synchronized. So our new EP, “Binary Sex”, features different remixes for each label. The USA version has more American remixers on it and the European version has more European remixers on it. This wasn’t intentional, just more of a result of each labels connections. The release of the upcoming LP, “Stranger Than Fiction”, will be synchronized and both labels will sell indentical versions.
Chain D.L.K.: Wow, I didn’t know that. Do you think people are aware of those differences? What remixers do you have on the European version (which will be out really soon)?
More Machine Than Man: The European version of “Binary Sex” is released in Europe this month. More than 300 club DJs will receive copies, so request the song “Why? ” and make them earn their free copies!!!HaHaHa. The European version has AMAZING remixes by Syrian, XP8, Aslan Faction, CTRLer and ERRA, as well as Bozo Porno Circus, Pigface, DJ Ian Fford. Tasha and I both LOVE the European remixes. I hope people are aware of the differences, because it would be a shame to have one and not the other! I would have loved to release all of the remixes on both labels simultaneously, but the timing didn’t make it possible.
Chain D.L.K.: Did you choose the songs they had to remix or do were they free to pick their favorite one? Also, did you provide them the wav files to use? I’m curious about the method they used to re-arrange your tracks…
More Machine Than Man: We usually offer up a few tracks, that we think are appropriate to the remixer, and let them pick one. We send the remixer separate parts as a aiff/wav. We send them wet and dry versions of the vocals, when that is possible. We also like to include the programming as midi, so they have more latitude to rework the existing arrangement. The midi lets a remixer more easily change the feel, or approach, to a song idea. That is just as interesting as a remixer building an entirely new track and dropping your vocal, or one synth, on it. Both approaches to remixing are fun. As a remixer, we enjoy working from both of those angles.
Chain D.L.K.: “Binary Sex” has got two new tracks “Why? ” and “Tonight”. I think that with those two you reached your top. Did the production of En Esch help achieve that result?
More Machine Than Man: No doubt! We’ve never made a secret of how HUGE of an influence KMFDM has been on us. Working with En Esch was really like being able to sit at the knee of one of the masters of this genre. We learned SOOO much, so quickly. It revolutionized the way that we work. We’ve found that working with producers that have influenced us, has really helped us find our voice. I’ve always been very confident in our song writing, but it is amazing how some subtle technical things can make a good song idea and AMAZING track.
Chain D.L.K.: The lyrics of “Slave” or “Touch” from “Electrolust” speak of twisted relationships (mostly S&M? ). Did you write them because they represent the freedom of action and interaction between two people or was it something more ironic, where you were pointing out the twisted side of relations between human beings?
More Machine Than Man: I think that our race is nothing but a bunch of apes that walked out of the woods and became self aware. We have conformed to suppress our id. I think that S&M culture is all about experiencing and enjoying our suppressed nature. So, yes, I believe that all the S&M lyrics are both the literal interpretations of S&M relationship and a satire of human nature. We are on more tracks for the upcoming LP, “Stranger than Fiction”, with En Esch and Romell from Razed in Black. En Esch is producing another track titled, “What I Deserve”. Romell is working on the title track with us now, and we are talking to him about producing another track, “Something Good”, as a DJ RiB. “Something Good” is a uber dancefloor assault, so we plan on enlisting his help to make sure we really nail it.
Chain D.L.K.: I’m curious about this, so I’d like to ask you: some people see S&M as a culture while I see them as a personal way of interacting taht is established between two people. Don’t you think that too many times things like these face the risk to become nothing but fashion? Think of, for example, “Erotica” or “Vogue” by Madonna…
More Machine Than Man: I see what you mean, that is a valid idea. Madonna came out of the NYC gay bar scene. So she was into the fetish angle from the beginning. She definitely rode it right to the $, but if I had her tits, so would I. In the ’90es it seemed to me that fetish imagery was saturating everything. Commercials, print ads, fashion photography, musicians’ fashion. I though it was a new phenomenon. Then, I realized that the fashion and art scene of the ’70es/’80es was saturated with fetish imagery also, I was just too young to recognize it. I think that so much of design and media is basically created by the ‘art scene’ people. It is this ‘art scene”s day-job to create the imagery of the mainstream media. And the ‘art scene’ is mostly made of strange people who are open to the aesthetic of homoerotica, fetish erotica, etc. This is just MY opinion, of course.
Chain D.L.K.: If you were Madonna, wouldn’t you feel like a prostitute selling your way of feeling relationships or do you think it could be useful to make people see other ways of living life? If this was the case, don’t you think common people wouldn’t accept it either way making it a thing for the “scene” only?
More Machine Than Man: No. Madonna is no more of a prostitute for exposing her relationships, than Johny Cash was for exposing HIS relationship in “I Walk the Line”. Displaying personal emotional entanglement to the public is what artists do. That is the definition of art. The mainstream LOVES freak/gay club culture. All mainstream club culture comes from freak/gay club culture. For example, disco, techno, raves…even Heavy Metal’s leather and studs was introduced by Rob Halford bringing it over from the English HomoLeather scene.
Chain D.L.K.: Let’s talk about “Stranger Than Fiction” again…What are the main differences between this and the previous releases (apart from the producers) and what would you say to someone interested in listening to it?
More Machine Than Man: It’s strange, even though we are still doing the MMTM ‘seduction and destruction’ style, it feels like it has evolved so much. The writing gets more and more personal all the time. There is a real emotional rawness to the newer material. The “Binary Sex” EP gives a nice hint of what is coming on the LP. But an EP can only be a snapshot of the depth of “Stranger Than Fiction”. There is a lot of political overtones to the newer stuff. We’ve always written political material, but it was more of a subtle undertone. It’s hard to be an artist in American and not have some response to current events.
Chain D.L.K.: Yep, November 2004 will be an important month for the USA…Have you seen the latest Michael Moore movie?
More Machine Than Man: Yes, the night it was released. Moore manages to make some very tough material that is actually entertaining to watch, even humourous at times. He is incredibly talented. I’m not sure what the furor is in the USA about the movie. It IS propaganda, it is NOT an objective documentary. Moore’s film is projecting a point of view. I happen to agree with that point of view and his interpretation of the facts. America is in a very dark place right now. Most people can feel it, but it is so disturbing that they run from it. We are so insulated by power and money, that it enables the American public to be complacent. I have an eighteen year old nephew in Iraq now, and another nephew is enlisting and requesting combat duty, so I take this all very personally.
Chain D.L.K.: I think that most of the Americans weren’t aware about what Moore showed in his movie. Maybe in Europe people knew more about it. The media had a large role in that and that’s a real problem. We don’t really know the truth about anything!
More Machine Than Man: The only way to have ANY idea about what is going on is to follow independent news sources. The global corporations that control the media now are keeping the truth away from people. The European media is better than the American press, but not by much.
Chain D.L.K.: Do you think American artists can do something to make people’s awareness rise?
More Machine Than Man: The French media isn’t very honest about how responsible French foriegn policy is for the mess that Iraq and Iran have been for the last 50 years or so. France is VERY tied into the Iraqi oil interests and has a lot to lose. The European media is GREAT at pointing out American hypocracy, but NOT so good about exposing European hypocracy. I don’t think America is a 50/50 polarized at what the media points out. The majority of Americans don’t know what is going on and don’t want to know. They don’t vote, they don’t read, they don’t seek out accurate news. The minority of Americans who vote are very evenly divided between liberals and conservatives. I don’t think artists can change the minds of the people who have already decided, but I HOPE that artists can inform the majority of people who aren’t paying attention.
Chain D.L.K.: When will the album be released?
More Machine Than Man: “Binary Sex” will be released today [or next Tues? ] in Europe. There is no release date for “Stranger Than Fiction”. We’re taking our time, and making sure it’s perfect!
Chain D.L.K.: Something else you would add to end this interview?
More Machine Than Man: Thank you very much! Look for MMTM on tour in Europe with Interlace in 2005!
Visit More Machine Than Man on the web at:
www.moremachinethanman.net and at:
[interviewed by Maurizio Pustianaz] [proofreading by Marc Urselli]